I have read the tea leaves, and the tea leaves say “clusterfuck!”
Today was tax day, and of course that meant the loony-tunes right had
their big tax protests, the “teabagging parties.” As Anderson Cooper
memorably remarked, “It's hard to talk when you're teabagging.”
Not, mind you, that this slowed down the diarrhetic right any. Governor
Perry, dubbed forever “Governor Goodhair” by the late Molly Ivins, stood
and proclaimed Texas' right to secede from the union. I had to remind
myself that Texas has ports and resources that are valuable to
Americans, and that not all Texans are batshit crazy like the gubbiner.
Even if they do keep electing clowns like Goodhair and before him,
George W Bush. Besides, someone should ask Mexico if they want a third
world buffer state between themselves and the US, especially since about
all Texas can do is contribute to the gun running and drug addiction
problems Mexico and the US inflict upon one another.
Goodhair, of course, has never cracked a history book, let alone read
something without funny pictures, like the US Constitution. So he
probably doesn't know about the Civil War. I mean, come on! He's a Texas
Elected Official! He's doing good if he remembers to unzip before
“Joe the Plumber” weighed in on this day of days. It's an endless source
of pleased fascination to me that he continues to be front and center
for the GOP. It's a bit like the FBI making Inspector Clouseau their
mascot. “Joe” is where GOP dreams of credibility go to die.
His latest? In some parts of the US, they'll shoot you for saying “In
God We Trust.” “Joe” didn't go into who would shoot you for that, or
why, or for that matter why you would even be bothered saying it in the
first place. But shot you will be, according to “Joe.” I thought briefly
of having people send “Joe” dollar bills with holes punched through the
motto, but it's a crime to deface the currency, and besides, “Joe” would
just pocket them and not declare them on his taxes.
The Washington, DC rally wasn't going to make anyone forget King's “I
Have A Dream” rally. Several hundred turned up for that. They were going
to take one million bags of tea and dump them in the Potomac, and were
advised that this would violate several large and important
environmental laws, not to mention over-caffeinating millions of fish.
“School of bass attack, eat ocean liner! Film at 11!”
So they decided to just dump the teabags in the middle of Lafayette
Park. Except the park authorities took a dim view of that. They would,
at the very least, need a permit. (I'm still trying to figure out what
permit you can get that allows you to dump a million teabags into a
public park. I bet it's got its own code prefix.)
So the truck with the million tea bags drove off into the sunset, quite
a trick at two in the afternoon, and presumably the contents will be
saved for disaster relief in Ohio after all the plumbing fails at once.
In New York, TV broadcast one hyperventilating sort who wanted to know
how Obama could run a country if he had never even run a business. We
had one of those last time. He even had an MBA, which is a special type
of business license that allows you to steal with both hands. It didn't
work out so well. It left me wondering how these protesters, who
couldn't even manage a credible anti-tax rally in Boston, could tell a
Constitutional Scholar how to run the country.
In Boston, which also attracted hundreds to one of those rallies, the
Fox reporter, showing the fairness and balance for which his network is
renowned, asked, “Guys, when are we going to wake up and start fighting
the fascism that seems to be permeating this country?” Maybe this guy,
Willard, started by infiltrating Fox and covering the nutball rallies.
In Houston, home to right wing zaniness, a couple of thousand turned up.
My favorite moment was seeing a sign: “We Miss Reagan.” Yes. Let's put
the tax rates on the rich back to the levels they were by the end of
Reagan's second term. Which would be about 13% above what they are now.
Well, you don't pick your right wing whack jobs for their brights. I
think some of these guys might be doing meth to clear their heads.
It came on a day when Obama noted once again that his tax program would
cut taxes for 98% of the taxpaying population, and on a day when it was
announced that the Obamas had paid nearly $900K in taxes on income of
$2.6 million. Incidentally, Obama is one of the 2% of the population who
will see taxes go up – by three points – if his tax plan survives
The right was having paroxysms of fury and fear over a report from the
Department of Homeland Security that right wing groups posed the
greatest potential terrorist threat to America (hello? 1995? Oklahoma
City?) and another report from the Southern Law Poverty Center,
coincidentally on the same day, which reported that the number of hate
groups active in the US had increased by 50% since 2002.
The right immediately took the depiction of extremists as potentially
dangerous extremely personally, forgetting for a minute to stop
threatening to assassinate the president if he took away their guns,
something he isn't planning to do. They were outraged! How DARE the DHS
suggest that their actions might match their words! Obviously, it was a
plot by Obama to round up all conservatives and send them to the
Except the report was commissioned in 2005, and effectively completed
last December. It was requested by the Bush White House at a time when
Republicans were still thinking seriously that they might be a permanent
single party majority for generations. Hmmm.
Now, right wingers might want to ponder that for a bit. The GOP has
built a base on gun freaks, jeezus wheezers and paranoids, and for a
while there in 2005, they looked pretty well situated to grab the brass
ring and just make America their own private playground for good.
So what DO you do with a pack of gun freaks, jeezus wheezers and
paranoids who had already overthrown the country they were born in?
Well, you round them up. I suspect the right wingers are correct about
the intent behind that DHS report, but I don't think it was Obama's
intent. I think this is kinda what Karl Rove and Dick Cheney felt needed
to be done with noisy, unstable nuts who were no longer of any use.
I'm just sayin'...
The DHS report, disquieting as it is for these implications, did
actually warn of a growing problem that I've been expecting for six
years now. There are a lot of soldiers coming back from Iraq and
Afghanistan, and a lot of them have been involved in things that
corroded their psyches and left them distanced from everyday life and
normal interactions with other humans. When you are sent over to a
strange land to torture, murder, rape, brutalize, suppress and sneer at
the native population, you don't come back as an emotionally healthy
human being. A lot of soldiers aren't, and a lot of the wounded have
injuries of the sort that let them function, but not without help that
isn't there. Further, they come back to a future with no prospects; no
work, no credit to buy a house, and things looking bad.
The report notes that a lot of them are easy targets for recruitment by
extremist groups. And that's just what's happening.
The right is in a fury about that, too. Even if they admit it's true,
they can't get around the fact that they created those occupations, and
they've fed and nurtured those extremist groups with their own wild
rhetoric for years. Between Goodhair and “Joe” and Willard, we saw some
sterling examples of that rhetoric today. Secession. Fascism. Claims
that people were being shot for being Christian. That's some pretty
I'm hoping a lot of people are watching all this, and feel as repelled
by it as I do. These extremists on the right have no morals, no love of
country (beyond the utterly fabricated patriotism, which, like their
religion, provides a comfortable skirt to hide behind when challenged)
and no compunctions about saying or doing anything to try and steal it
from the rest of us.
It's going to get worse.
How much worse?
We might see another Oklahoma City. Or even a 9/11. Or someone will try
to shoot Obama, or one of his little girls. Another pack of nuts will
take up residence on a compound and fire at cops and troop who approach.
Or some damn thing.
The Tea Bagging Parties were a joke. But the people funding such aren't
joking around. Remember that.
April 20, 2009